Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In a land far far away

I was near Piccadilly Circus today when I suddenly spotted a Chinese grocery store. Childlike excitement gripped me at the sight of dried mushrooms and black beans. Who would have guessed that a a store full of chives and soya sauce would one day be my Disneyland. I went to the basement and loaded up as much as could be carried in one basket. I hadn't realised till we came here how much we had gotten used to some of the local products we had started using. . nor, that someday my day would be made at the sight of chilli oil and wasabi peas.

Groceries packed, I went to the billing counter. An old Chinese couple put everything into bags which I thought wouldn't hold up even till the tube station. In all my bubbling excitement I hesitantly said thank you in Mandarin (one of the the three word vocabulary I have of the language - the others are 'hello' and 'goodbye'). I should have anticipated the shock (Indian woman all the way in London spouting one word knowledge of Mandarin). Followed by animated chatting. I told them I used to live in South East Asia and they told me where they were from (all of this ofcourse in English). I left with a smile inside me .. and a plan to go back for all the goodies that I couldn't stuff into the basket today.


mumbaiwallah said...

Japan Centre at Picadilly Circus has some great Japanese food, plus a wonderful store in the basement , plus a travel centre/bookshop on the first floor. A few steps away from the Picadilly tube towards the Ritz etc. (South side exit, I think)

mumbaiwallah said...

Ooh, Ooh, they have a website as well!


Where's your Chinese shop?

Jonathan said...

That's a wonderful story - thanks for posting it. The only story I can relate to that is a visit to Turkey earlier this year, where we met the most kind, and friendly people I have ever met.

We could not communicate through speech, but we did communicate. It was wonderful.

Beks said...

Am so impressed thatyou know mandarin:D

Grafx said...

i LOVE ASia!!! not only can you get a ton of asian food....but western food is as plentiful as well!!

although the fast food taste varies everywhere you go :P

we truly are a VERY versatile continent!!

John said...

Trying to find the right food at the right store is perhaps an art, that I badly lack.

Cooking it to the desired taste.. is well another story.

Guten Appetite

Pea said...

[mumbaiwallah] Thanks. Don't know how to cook with Japanese ingredients.. but like some Jap food, so hope they have ready made stuff. This Chinese grocery store is on Shaftesbury Avenue.. on the right is you're going from Piccadilly Circus. Btw, close to is there's a really good Thai place. The best I've had in London.. simple place.. but great food. http://www.thaipavilion.com/

[Jonathan] Friendly people make such a difference to a holiday.

[Beks] I don't k-n-o-w Mandarin .. though wish I did. But sometimes.. just saying a word can sometimes help. From don't care store owners ..we had a nice chat.

[Grafx] I know ... nothing beats Asia (actually make that South East Asia.. I had such a bad time in Shanghai) when it comes to food. Also its closer to our taste ..so very sustainable over a long period. And ofcourse.. the prices are the best part!

[John] That's the part where friends with similar tastes can make all the difference.

Shionge said...

Hiya Pea - Greetings from Singapore :D You sure make that couple's day by shopping and carting off so many goodies.

I'll be back :D

Pea said...

[Shionge] I hope so. .. its a nice feeling. . and I left with a smile .. bought back nice memories.